Lions Win One-Run Game, Defeat No. 24 Fresno State, 8-7
LMU scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to take the victory.
March 20, 2009
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - LMU (9-12) snapped a 10-game losing streak by knocking-off No. 24 Fresno State (10-6) by a count of 8-7 on Friday in game one of a four-game series being played at LMU's Page Stadium. The Lions scored twice in the second inning, four times in the sixth and twice in the bottom of the seventh to take the win. With the victory, LMU is now 2-0 against ranked opponents this year, besting then-No. 5 UC Irvine on March 3 by a count of 11-3. In addition, five of LMU's last seven games have been decided by one run.
Kyle Spraker and Trevor Gee paced the Lion offense in terms of hits, picking up three apiece in the win. Spraker finished 3-for-4 with a run scored, a double, a walk and a RBI. Gee was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and a double. Junior Angelo Songco belted his seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot, in the bottom of the first inning, while Jonathan Johnson collected a triple and two RBI. Junior Ryan Wheeler extended his hitting streak to eight games with a RBI-single in the bottom of the sixth. After a 2-for-5 day, Ryan Hawthorne has now hit safely in five straight games, while Ollie Enos and Evan Simonitsch have each hit in four straight.
Senior Lee Roberts got the start and lasted six and a third innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and striking out seven, but did not factor in the decision. Jordan McClintick, who improved to 2-1 with the win, pitched two-thirds of a frame and surrendered three runs before Xavier Esquivel pitched two scoreless innings and punched-out four to earn his second save of the season.
Tom Mendonca paced the Bulldog offense, hitting his seventh home run of the season in the first inning and collecting a double to finish 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Brennan Gowens batted 3-for-4 with two runs scored, a double, a walk and a RBI. Gavin Hedstrom collected the most exciting hit of the day, circling the bases for a two-RBI inside-the-park home run in the seventh inning.
Holden Sprague, Fresno State's starting pitcher, also did not factor in the decision after pitching five innings and handing the ball over to Matt Morse. Morse allowed four runs over two-thirds of an inning before Tom Harlan recorded the final out in the sixth. Zac Bischoff would take the loss after pitching an inning and allowing two runs on two hits and a walk in the seventh.
The two teams traded two runs in the first inning, aided by two-run home runs from both squads' leading home run hitters. Mendonca connected on his seventh round-tripper in the top of the first with a man on before Songco answered with the same result in the home half of the inning. For Songco, the home run was his 26th of his career, placing him one shy of the 10th spot in the LMU All-Time Record books.
Fresno State would add a third run in the top of the second, taking a 3-2 lead. Gowens doubled to get the ball rolling before a sacrifice bunt and a RBI-groundout pushed him across the plate.
After three straight scoreless innings, including a sixth inning in which Johnson made a stellar play to save a run and end the top of the sixth, LMU answered for four runs in the bottom of the frame. Gee doubled before Shon Roe singled to put runners at the corners. Johnson followed with a two-RBI triple and was later pushed home on a Simonitsch single to centerfield. After a double play for the first two outs, Spraker doubled to get the rally going once again. Wheeler followed with the clutch two-out RBI single to cap the scoring run on the ensuing play.
Fresno State wasted no time responding, putting up four runs of its own in the top of the seventh, highlighted by a Mendonca double, a sacrifice fly from Steve Detwiler, a Gowens RBI-single and the inside-the-park home run from Hedstrom. Simonitsch dove to try to catch Hedstrom's sinking line drive, but he came up empty and watched as the ball rolled slowly to the base of the wall.
The Lions pushed the game winning run across in the bottom of the seventh, scoring twice in the frame to take an 8-7 lead. A Gee single and a Roe sacrifice bunt set the table for a Ryan Hawthorne two-out RBI-single. With runners at first and second, Spraker came up with what proved to be the game-winning hit, singling home a run with a base hit to left field. Esquivel was outstanding in closing the door on Fresno State, highlighted by a strikeout of Mendonca with two on and two out in the top of the eighth.
The Lions and Bulldogs will return to action tomorrow for a doubleheader starting at 11:00 a.m.